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Full text of "A misstatement in the "Episcopal journal" of Bishop Ravenscroft, corrected"

soiiss?4tfriESGiEXHr 



IN THE 



EPISCOPAL JOURNAL" OF BISHOP RAVENSCROFT, 



CORRECTED, 



•»#©•*<• 



.Siltofcurg : 



PRINTED BY PHILO WHITE 






1827. 



The undersigned, Elders and Deacons of the Lutheran 
Church in Salisbury, have read with surprise and regret, 
the manner in which Bishop Ravenscroft, in his " Episcopal 
Journal," has noticed the " interference in appointments," 
which happened in this place about the time of his last visit. 
As what the Bishop has there said is not only essenti^llv 
erroneous, but conveys an indirect censure on the " other 
denominations" alluded to, we feel reluctantly driven to 
the necessity of correcting his misstatement, in the same 
public manner in which it was made ; otherwise our silence 
might be taken as an admission of the truth of his assertions. 
The following are the remarks of the Bishop, to which 
we have reference : 

" During my visit to this place, an interference in appointments took 
place, which gave me the opportunity to press upon the members of the 
Church the necessity, as well as the propriety, of providing a place of wor- 
ship for themselves. And though the present building has been erected almost 
entirely at the expense of Episcopalians, yet as the ground :«,s originally given 
for lohat is called a Free Church, and each denomination has a?i equal right to 
the use of it, I recommended to surrender it altogether, to submit to the 
loss, should the other denominations refuse a reasonable reimbursement, 
and rent some convenient place for present use, until they could provide 
the means of erecting a suitable building for themselves ; and I have reason 
to believe that this, or such other course as will prevent all collision, will be 
pursued." 

In these few remarks, the Bishop has made two assertions, 
both of which are palpably incorrect. One is: "That the 
ground (in question) was originally given for what is called 
a free church, and each denomination has an equal right to 
the use of it ;" The other is : " That the present building has 

been erected almost entirely at the expense of the Episco- 
palians." 

That Bishop Ravenscroft is entirely mistaken in the first 
assertion, namely, as to the ground, will fully appear lrom 
the words of the deed itself, executed on the 9th day of 
September, 1768, by John Lewis Beard, a professed Luther- 
an, and a member of the church then existing in Salisbury. 



( 3) 

ii This Indenture, made the 9th day of September, in the veai 
of our Lord 1768, between John Lewis Beard, &x. of the one 
part, and Michael Brown, Michael Moore, Casper Gienther and 
Peter Reeb, Trustees of tlie German Lutheran congregation in the 
town of Salisbury, of the other part, Whnesselh," &c — u doth 
grant, bargain," &c. " unto the said trustees of the said congrega- 
tion, and to their successors in that office, for ever," « to have and to 
hold," &c. " unto the said German Lutheran Congregation, in and 
about the said town of Salisbury, for to erect and to build thereon 
a Church, or meeting-house, Jit the only /iro/ier use and behoof of 
the said German Lutheran Congregation, forever." " And it is 
further agreed by the parties to these presents, that it shall be 
allowed, by the a/ifirvbalion of the Minister, trustees, and elders of 
said congregation, that any lawful minister of the gospel of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, shall have liberty to preach in the said Church, 
if he can and do show a sufficient testimonial, in writing, either 
from the High Church cl England, or from the reformed Calvin 
Ministers, at such time as the said Lutheran Ministers doth noj want 
to Jierjbrm divine service in said Church." 

This is a correct extract from the deed, executed as above 
stated, regularly registered and recorded. Without any 
comments on our part, we leave it with the public to say, 
whether the letter or meaning of that instrument will bear 
the Bishop out in his assertion, " that the ground was origi- 
nally given for what is culled a free church, and each denomi' 
nation has an equal right to the use of if." 

It now remains for us to show, that Bishop Ravenscroft 
is equally mistaken in his other assertion, "thai the present 
buiding has been erected almost entirely at the expense of 
the Episcopalians." 

A short time after the ground in question was granted, as 
before stated, the Lutherans proceeded to build thereon a 
house of worship, which always went by the name of the 
" Lutheran Church, 1 ' and was uniformly occupied by the 
congregadon. In 1788, the Rev. Charles A. G. Storke, a 
pious and learned divine of the Lutheran church, settled in 
Salisbury as the regular pastor of the congregation, and 
preached in the church for a number of years, or until he re- 



So 



(4) 

moved to the country to take charge of other congregations. 
After his removal, the congregation began to lose its organi- 
zation 5 and the huuse, Irom neglect, weot considerably to 
decay. Subsequently to Mr. Storke's removal, it was sel- 
dom occupied tor preaching, particularly alter the completion 
of the New Court-H >usc, which, on account of its cei.tr A 
situation, was geneially prettrred by preachers of all denom- 
inations. Things continued in this situation until -ibout the 
ye r 1812 — 'J3, when the Females of the place started a sub- 
scription for building a house ol public worship for the use of 
the Tow;.. There being no regularly organized congicga- 
tioa in Salisbury, all classes ot the citizens united in the 
subscription to build a house of public worship. The words * 
of the subscription itstU, set forth the object, and explicitly 
designated tha: the church was to be erected on the Lutheran 
Char h ground. To this paper was subscribed the sum of 
§1,291. Some of the most zealous of the subscribers met 
together, and appointed agents to contract for, and to super- 
intend the building of the new Church. The old house was 
set up at auction, and actually bid off at about SlOO ; it was 
torn down, and removed, and the present building erected 
on the very same spot where the old one stood. Belore 
the new house was budt, and more particularly after its com- 
pletion, a dissatisfaction arose among some of the subscri- 
bers about the management of the business- the consequence 
of which was, that some of them refused to pay. But 
IMessrs. Locke and Allemong, merchants of this place, 
having, in some manner, become bound to the builders, they 
met the contract, and asserted a claim on the hou^e for the 
sura paid by them over and above whit the subscription had 
realized. These gentlemen made repeated efforts to obtain 
re-pavment of the sum advanced by them y but circums'an- 
ces alw »ys prevented success. The matter, therefore, con- 
tinued unsettled; and, while thus unsettled, a part of the 
subscribers united with other individu ils in forming a Pres- 
byterian congregation in this place. 

A year or two thereafter, Bishop Ravenscroft paid hir, 



(5 ) 

first visit to Salisbury, and succeeded in bringing together 
and organizing an Episcopal congregation, — the first Episco- 
pal congregation or Church that ever existed in Salisbury. 

The surviving members of the Lutheran Church, with 
others, also met together, and revived their ancient congre- 
gation. Thus, in a short period oi time, three congregations 
sprung np f and each obtained a staled preacher to adminis- 
ter to them. 1 his new state of things started the question, 
Who shall have the new church? 

The Presbyterians, although several of their members had 
paid their subscription, never tor a moment set up any claim 
as a body, either to the ground or the house. Haying, by 
the formation of another society, separated themselves from 
the m .ss of the subscribers, they quietly proceeded to r-dse 
funds to buiid a house ot worship for themselves ; and, in 
the mean time, they perform divine service in the Court- 
House j — excepting <.n sacramental occasions ; when, by invi- 
tation, they use the Church. 

The Episcopalians, however, set up a claim as well to the 
ground as to the house. The Bishop, we presume, has 
stated their grounds of claim in that part of his journal to 
which we take exception. 

The Lutherans, on their part, very naturally turned their 
minds to the spot granted to their church as a place of wor- 
ship, — where their predecessors had for so many years wor- 
shipped, and where repose the remains of their departed kin- 
dred and friends. T hey, therefore, under the deed above 
quoted, set up an exclusive claim to the ground ; but as to 
the house, they only contended that they had as much right 
to the use of it as any other denomination. 

At this stage of the question it was, that the " interference 
in appointments" alluded to by the Bishop, took pi -ce. We 
shall not here detail the circumstances of that inierference 5 
but we embrace the occasion to declare, that not the slight-, 
est shadow of the blame arising out of that occurrence, can 
with propriety be attached to the Lutheran Preacher or con-, 
gregation. The incident, however, impressed both parties 



(6) 

with the necessity of settling the question as to who should 
hold the house. Accordingly, a conference and a corres- 
pondence took place between the two denominations. On 
the part of the Episcopalians, two propositions were submit- 
ted ; both of which were rejected, for the reason that tney 
contemplated a disposal of the ground, — the Lutherans 
holding that the ground was theirs, and could not become a 
subject of negotiation. They, however, in turn, offered 
two propositions, in the words following: " 1st. The Lu- 
therans consent that the Episcopalians may move off the 
house from the ground, on condition they pay the claim of 
Messrs. Locke and Allemong, and also satisfy such of the 
subscribers as have paid their subscription. If this be not 
agreed to, then, as another effort in the cause of friendship, 
the Lutherans, 2dly, propose to submit the matter in contro- 
versy to the investigation and decision of four disinterested 
men, to be mutually chosen by the parties." 

On receiving these propositions, the gentlemen acting on 
the part of the Episcopalians, desired time to consult their 
constituents. After several weeks delay, the result was, that 
they acceded to neither proposition, but wholly dropped all 
further claim on the house and ground: Whereupon, the 
Lutherans went forward and paid Messrs. Locke and Alle- 
mong S940 5T, that being the amount claimed by them. 
The original cost of the house was considerably more than 
the amount of the subscription : the cost was, Si 605 57 
Towards this sum, was paid by five persons attached 

to the Episcopalian church, (only two of whom 

are members) _____ 350 

Leaving to be otherwise paid, - 1259 57 

This latter sum was further reduced by payments 

made by other subscribers, to 940 57 

And in the end, this sum was paid, as stated above, by the 
Lutheran congregation. 

Here, again, we respectfully submit for the public to say, 
whether this statement of facts will bear the Bishop out in 



C'T) 

his assertion, " that the present building has been erected 
almost entirely at the expense of the Episcopalians. " 

In closing our remarks, we take occasion to disclaim the 
thought that Bishop Ravenscroft has designedly made these 
misrepresentations : we think too favorably of his piety and 
candour, to indulge the opinion. We believe, that, by some 
means or other, he has been misinformed and misled in the 
matter. This, however, does not make it less our duty to 
ward off the prejudice his remarks are calculated to draw 
upon us. Why we have not sooner done this, is owing al- 
together to the fact, that the Bishop's Journal never fell into 
our hands until within a short time past. 

Being satisfied of the truth of our statement, as the Bishop 

will be when he examines the facts of the case, we indulge 

the hope, that in his next Journal he will correct the error 

committed in his last one. 

JOHN BEARD, Sen.; 



3en.? 
ER.$ 



GEORGE VOGLER.^ 

JAMES BROWN, "? 
ROBERT MULL, 5 Ucacons '